The walls of Reid commons were echoing with the sounds of the languages last night as the UM community discussed the Tower of Babel, from Genesis 10-11. Our ears got a treat in hearing these beautiful noises that mean so much to one person and so little to another. The “babel” of one becomes another’s meaning, purpose, foundation. As we looked deeper into the noise, we discovered the tower was a place of pride, destined to fall. Built with subpar materials for a subpar purpose so far from what God originally intended for His people. The question is then posed: what is your tower? What materials are you using to build up your life? Are they feeble attempts at righteousness you’re attempting to stack up until you reach the kingdom, or are they God-given, God-blessed, and God-supported? Only through His blessing and His work can good be done–rely upon that as graduation/school/plans of any kind loom upon us. They can be good…
acrylic/mixed media on canvas
Words are what define our culture. They help us make sense of our world and give us a tangible purpose to follow. The jumbled words of the globe portray the scattering of languages at Babel–of a people in a disconnect with their God. “So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth.” (Gen. 11:8).
by Drew Young
Hope never fails, however; if you look for it, you can see the ever-present light.
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From new painter Alicia Alexander:
acrylic on canvas
Our second week on talking about Noah, we revealed a new focus, that should have been obvious–God. The first week, we saw God using water for destruction, as a justice to a sinful world. Now we see water as cleansing, as hopeful, as a means for reflecting His great bow in the sky. It was not only for us he sent the rainbow, but for Himself, to remind Himself of His promise to never again flood the world as He did so long ago. Not for us did He even make the promise. He knew we would remiss back into a world of sin not five minutes after His preserved creations stepped back onto dry land. Not for Noah did He command him to build the ark. He was certainly not perfect, or savior, or almighty . . . but simply one of God’s instruments. When waves come crashing, remember God has promised–He will not destroy those who are His. The dove leads us out into dry land; into hope, redemption, and the most beautiful, ridiculous, undeserved, complete, unconditional love there is.
by Drew Young
The workings of Monica Longoria:
acrylic on canvas
The classic story of Noah: world gets violent, God gets angry, God has compassion, Noah builds ark, God floods earth, flood washes away, Noah and crew live it up on dry land. Its interesting the role that water plays in this story, as that of the antagonist in a sense. We want water to be peaceful, calm, refreshing, life-giving; and here God goes and uses it to destroy (almost) all life on earth. Our righteous selves can see this as injust–what is a loving God doing destroying His creation? But what else would we have Him do? Our God is not unjust, and does not tolerate sin. His judgments and actions are right, and He has right to anything in His creation. The ark serves as a symbol of hope and mercy in the midst of the waters, showing both the justice and love of our God working side-by-side.
by Stephanie Guckenberger
The story continues:
by Drew Young
The tale of Cain and Abel is one we’ve all probably heard . . . but have we really? They lived on this earth. Walked the same broken ground that we walk; had the same desires, the same fears, the same envy, the same hate. While the sun is coming up over God’s good world, sin looms in the valley, but it cannot be hidden. God always knows, and His punishment will be just. Christ, however, has made our intercession; the ground soaking up His blood as it soaked up Abel’s so long ago. For all of our moments of Cain-like rage and pseudo-power. Go against Cain’s lack of shame and repent, with humility and praise for the God who gives. Take Christ’s freedom and run.
by Mikaela Woodbury
acrylic on canvas
The complementary caliber of Emily-Erin Robinson and Katy Ward:
When the sin entraps, we become focused–not on our needs, but our desires. The darkness of sin makes chaos of what we’ve made ordered, stealing Light; it is lost. We’ve made our world like this. Our sin creates this darkness. We can’t help but look back.The work was inspired by the idea of our sin and what it takes to escape from it’s oppression- conviction, repentance, and a complete scouring with grace to be free of the penetrating soot that clings to us. The man is no one in particular, a distraught soul experiencing longing, and the distortion in his face takes away from the overall aesthetic like sin distorts and steals joy. But the loose line work and highlighting were meant to show that there is still beauty to be drawn out. The image is not all black, and there is hope.
But . . . (a key word) we have been offered hope. Redemption. Joy. None of it deserving, but free nonetheless. No matter how deep our sin takes us, the cross of Christ stands firm to take our beating. With it, we are free. Look forward to the light of today, tomorrow, eternity.
*first painting by Katy Ward, charcoal, colored pencil, and acrylic on canvas; “This Cloud of Sin”
*second painting by Emily-Erin Robinson, multimedia on canvas
The workings of Emily Echevvaria:
Marriage. Sexuality. Singleness. How do these merge? How do we make sense of it? How do we live it as Christians in a fallen world? It may be chaos, but it is also beautiful. The body working as God intended sings His praises, and the joy of creation reigns. Going all the way back to Adam and Eve, we ask the question: what is wrong with sexuality today? It’s distorted. Let’s see it for what it really is.
*painting by Emily Echevvaria, multimedia on canvas
Jordyn Elrod’s masterpiece:
When speaking on Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 and 1 Corinthians 12, the idea of the body and community of Christ was here displayed. Not only is community found in the unity of male and female since “It is not good for man to be alone,” (Gen 2:18) but community is also found when all parts of the Body of Christ are working together, appreciating one another, working for the betterment of God’s kingdom. For the eye is not better than the ear, or the foot better than the hand. We need all the little pieces to create the whole. We were not made to walk through this life alone, but instead hand in hand with those that also love the Lord. This is the power of unity.